Iceland: The Golden Circle Part 3 – Geysir and Language

Posted by on Mar 13, 2016 in Europe, Iceland, Travel Blog and Destinations | 0 comments

Iceland: The Golden Circle Part 3 – Geysir and Language

Travel can be a way to see back in time. Geysir is a representative of the Old Norse language making its way from the sagas of viking sea explorers to my own familiar stories. “Guysa” in Old Norse means “to gush.” The Icelandic language is the closest modern language to Old Norse, which influenced languages in Scandinavia and across Europe. Many Icelandic words, with a bit of a twist of the tongue, are entirely recognizable in English, and more so in other languages such as Finnish, Lithuanian, and Russian.

Litli Geysir, Iceland

Litli Geysir, or, “Little Geyser.”

Rightly, Icelanders take utmost pride in their language and it is a part of their culture to preserve their language as well as  their surname structure (although Iceland is one of -if not the- most feminist country in the world, surnames are based on the first name of the father, along with the person’s gender. Although, there are many exceptions where people use the mother’s first name. Anyways, I digress.) Although most Icelanders are fluent in English, all are trained in Icelandic pronunciation from childhood. Our guide told us how children were sent home with oral homework – to repeat a particularly difficult phrase over and over again until their pronunciation was perfect. Iceland has taken particular interest in creating their own Icelandic-derrived words and eradicating loan-words. A loan-word is a word integrated into one language from another. For example, the English word “courtesy” is from “curteisie” in old French. The international word, “telephone,” used similarly throughout most languages doe to the modernity of the invention, was replaced in Iceland to “sími” which is an Old Icelandic work for long string, resurrected for a new use.

So anyways, here is Strokkur, (which is Icelandic for “churn”), which erupts about every six minutes. It is surrounded by smaller little geysers, and some that erupt far less frequently. Strokker is the gold old standby. Apparently despite warnings, some people still try to touch the water. Don’t do that. It’s incredibly hot, and Icelanders will rightly think you are an idiot.

Strokkur erupts every 6ish minutes.

Strokkur erupts every 6ish minutes.

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